Cardiff University scientists have identified the potential root cause of asthma and an existing drug that offers a new treatment.
Researchers, working in collaboration with scientists at King’s College London and the Mayo Clinic (USA), discovered a previously unproven role of a protein (CaSR) in the disease which affects 300 million people worldwide.
The findings have been published in a paper for the journal Science Translational Medicine.
The paper highlights how a class of drugs known as calcilytics manipulate CaSR to reverse all the symptoms of asthma.
Calcilytics were first created to treat the bone disease osteoporosis.
Our findings are incredibly exciting. For the first time we have found a link between airways inflammation, which can be caused by.... allergens, cigarette smoke and car fumes, and airways twitchiness in allergic asthma.
Asthma UK helped fund the research.
This hugely exciting discovery enables us, for the first time, to tackle the underlying causes of asthma symptoms. Five per cent of people with asthma don’t respond to current treatments so research breakthroughs could be life changing for hundreds of thousands of people.
Clear skies over Wales tonight are likely to provide a perfect celestial stage for the Lyrid meteor shower across much of the UK.
On average 15 to 20 of the shooting stars can be seen an hour, though an especially active Lyrid shower produced around 90 an hour in 1982.
The meteors, sand-like particles shed by Comet Thatcher, leave luminous streaks across the sky as they burn up in the atmosphere.
They are most active in the night sky between April 16 and 25, peaking tonight and tomorrow.
The Royal Observatory Greenwich's top tips for watching the meteor shower:
- The best place to see the Lyrids is to find an open field where you can see the whole of the night sky
- The best time is a few hours after midnight where you can expect to see most of the bright streaks in the early hours of the morning
- Scan the sky over the course of the night as the meteors can pop out from any direction
Tests on graphene by a Cardiff University researcher could open up global exploitation of the lightweight ‘wonder’ material.
Graphene is a form of carbon and forms an atomic-scale lattice. It is extremely strong and conducts heat and electricity efficiently. It is used in products from computer chips to super-light aircraft.
But its development has been held back commercially by the cost and difficulty of large-scale production.
Now research by Dr David Morgan, of Cardiff Catalysis Institute, has developed methods of testing and analysing changes in the material.
Dr Morgan has worked alongside South Wales company Perpetuus to test the characteristics of graphene on an industrial scale – a ‘world-first’ for the University.
To the best of our knowledge, this is the first analysis of its kind from raw material to final use of the processed material. The development of graphene and related materials is an exciting and ever-expanding field.
The return of a Stone Age skeleton to North Wales will be officially marked today. The 'Lady of the Little Orme' is over 5,000 years old.Read the full story ›
Scientists, using data from an instrument built with expertise from Cardiff University, say they have discovered what could be the forerunners of the galaxies we see today.
The Herschel Space Observatory, which carries the SPIRE instrument, was used to pinpoint objects in the distant universe, seen at a time when it was only 3 billion years old (the universe is now almost 14 billion years old).
It was given its targets (the black spots in the large image above) by the Planck Space Observatory.
By imaging the young galaxies scientists hope to better understand their evolution into those we see today including our own Milky Way which now has 100 billion stars.
Cardiff University's Astronomy Instrumentation Group was involved in the design of SPIRE. Members of the School of Physics and Astronomy are analysing and interpreting the data from the instrument.
Herschel stopped operating in 2013 when its coolant was exhausted. But the data it sent back could take several years to interpret.
The most important message is never look directly at the Sun, even through sunglasses or dark material such as a bin liner.Read the full story ›
Scientists from Aberystwyth University will observe next week's total eclipse in Norway. The team will study the sun's atmosphere.Read the full story ›
Welsh schoolchildren will honour the mathematician from Anglesey who gave the world Pi. William Jones introduced Pi to the world in 1706.Read the full story ›
A Welsh professor is leading a project looking into the effects of concussion on rugby players.Read the full story ›
There will be a rare chance to see an asteroid pass so close to the Earth you will be able to see it with binoculars on Monday night.Read the full story ›